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Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has called for Finance Minister Conor Murphy MLA to urgently address problems with incorrect payments being issued to local firms under the DoF led Localised Restrictions Support Scheme. The DUP representative has had a number of businesses contact her who have only received a fraction of the sum they are owed through the scheme.

Carla Lockhart said:

“One would have thought that having taken the Minister so long to get payments out the door, that the payments would be correct. Yet today I have had several local businesses contact me who feel short-changed by the Finance Minister’s scheme.

Some of these businesses, forced to close, understand they are entitled to £9,600, but have been issued payments of £1,600. Some are getting paid for the additional two weeks of restrictions, and still haven’t received the payment for the first four weeks of forced closure. These businesses need this money to meet bills and pay staff, and to pay for children’s Christmas presents and all the other expenses of the season.

This is another ‘Made by Murphy’ mess. It isn’t good enough and business owners who are already stressed by the demands they face are now being subjected to further anxiety because of DoF mistakes. The Minister needs to get a grip of this scheme, and get the right sums out the door in a prompt manner.

I have urged all businesses affected to appeal their case and robustly defend their application as DoF have spent nine weeks dithering with the applications and now alternative support schemes are closed or about to close.”